Mac Engel

In trading for Michael Bennett, the Dallas Cowboys have their first ‘kneeler’

No NFL owner was more adamant that his players stand for the national anthem more than Jerry Jones, and the Dallas Cowboys owner just added one man who defiantly sat down when it was a league-wide trend.

The Cowboys traded a seventh round pick to the New England Patriots on Thursday in exchange for veteran defensive lineman Michael Bennett.

That’s right, America’s Team has its first real protester on their squad. Defensive end Robert Quinn raised a fist in his career with the Miami Dolphins during the anthem, but Bennett was all in and sat down.

What one will do to sack a quarterback.

Bennett adds some depth to the line, and essentially puts rookie second round pick Trysten Hill 65,000-feet down the depth chart.

Don’t expect much. We’re talking about a guy the best team in the league just dumped for basically nothing. Depending on Bennett’s production, the pick could become a sixth-rounder.

How often does New England lose these sort of trades?

This deal is not about New England taking exception to Bennett as a person. The Patriots would sign Ebola Virus if they thought he could pass the drug test.

The Patriots dumped him because they think he’s done. That is The Patriot Way.

We are talking about a guy who is now on his fifth NFL team.

We are talking about a guy who is 34.

He is familiar with Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Kris Richard from their time together in Seattle, which never hurts. Bennett has a respected man in the room vouching for him.

Michael Bennett may have a play or two left, but he’s at the end.

The intriguing element is that Michael Bennett, much like his brother Martellus, is not one to keep quiet about much of anything. Like his brother.

Typically big mouths have never sit well with Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett. Personalities, like Greg Hardy or Dez Bryant, wear on him. You can deal with a personality, provided he can play.

When the Colin Kaepernick-spurred player protest movement took hold in 2016, Bennett was one of the players who took a knee during the national anthem. Maybe didn’t take a knee, but he certainly made a point of sitting down and being noticed as a member of the Seattle Seahawks.

He has been unafraid to talk about the root of the player protest movement, among other topics that typically center around racial inequality.

Guys who took a knee did not sit too well with Jerry Jones. He wanted his players to “create the perception” of honoring the flag, and as such not a one of them has done much of anything.

The closest was former defensive end David Irving, who briefly raised a fist after a national anthem or two. He wore on Garrett, and despite his talent he’s out of football (a monumental waste).

As a capitalist, Jerry wants no part of alienating his customers beyond what he normally does by building one of the more mediocre teams in the NFL.

Today, Bennett should not be a threat to the norm, or offending Jerry’s customers. As a member of the NFLPA, Bennett abides by the rules agreed to with the NFL. He no longer sits on the bench during the anthem.

With the Philadelphia Eagles last season, Bennett did not participate in any protest.

Before the Patriots’ preseason game in Detroit in August, he stayed in the locker room during the playing of the song.

The Cowboys just added a depth guy because they clearly don’t like their rookie second-round pick, and in order to do so had to sign their first kneeler.

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Mac Engel is an award-winning columnist who has extensive experience covering Fort Worth-Dallas area sports for 20 years. He has covered high schools, colleges, all four major sports teams as well as Olympic games and the world of entertainment, too. He combines dry wit with first-person reporting to complement a head of hair that is almost unfair.
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